Driving The Moki Dugway – RV LIFE

Driving The Moki Dugway – RV LIFE


Beware of the Moki Dugway! That was the title of an article I wrote greater than 10 years in the past regarding an “undeveloped” part of Freeway 261 in Southeastern Utah referred to as the Moki Dugway and our choice to not tow our journey trailer down it. It’s a preferred bucket-list merchandise for individuals who learn about it. However is it a good suggestion to tow a trailer or drive a big motorhome on it?

What’s the Moki Dugway? 

You can see the Moki Dugway on Freeway 261 about three quarters of the way in which down from its north terminus at Freeway 95 close to Pure Bridges Nationwide Monument. Its south terminus is situated at Freeway 163 close to Backyard of the Gods. The BLM states “The breathtaking Moki Dugway winds 1,200 ft from high to backside on three miles of graded gravel at an 11% grade. Most autos can journey the route safely. Warning is suggested for motorhomes or autos towing trailers.

The highest of the Dugway reveals spectacular views. On the horizon to the east lies Sleeping Ute Mountain, close to Cortez, Colorado. To the southeast is the Shiprock close to Shiprock, New Mexico. To the south the Carrizo Mountains straddle the New Mexico/Arizona border. Monument Valley is southeast on the Utah/Arizona Border.”

The BLM also tells us that the Moki Dugway was constructed within the Fifties by Texas Zinc Minerals as a route for ore vans hauling uranium and vanadium from Cedar Mesa to the processing mill close to Mexican Hat.

Historical past  

Since bypassing the Moki Dugway years in the past, my spouse and I’ve returned to the world with our journey trailer in tow. We camped and explored the Valley of the Gods. It’s just like close by Monument Valley, however attracts smaller crowds, is free to discover, and boondocking is allowed all through. Valley of the Gods is on the foot of the Moki Dugway, so we determined to overcome the dugway with out our trailer in tow. As well as, on the high of the Moki Dugway is Muley Level, one other focal point we wished to go to however had bypassed on our earlier go to. As we approached the bottom of the mesa the place the dugway begins, we have been greeted with an ominous warning signal.

Road warning sign about steep Moki Dugway, Utah

Tackling the Moki Dugway

Shortly after that was one other signal stating, “Not Beneficial for Vans over 10,000 LBs, RVs – Buses–Autos Towing.” Extra yellow warning indicators adopted.

Nicely, that must get most any RVers consideration, I believed. However, as we began ascending the grade, we may see a motorhome on the Moki Dugway excessive above on the facet of a cliff.

Motorhome on Moki Dugway
Motorhome excessive above, referred to as out by arrow. Cheri Helgeson Photograph

We took our time ascending the dugway, stopping usually to take photographs.

Overview of the Moki Dugway.

As we neared the highest and pulled into an overlook, with wrecked autos strewn in regards to the cliff facet tons of of ft beneath, we noticed a rental motorhome coming down the grade towards us.

Motorhome descending Moki Dugway
Rental motorhome simply beginning down grade. Dave Helgeson Photograph

They ended up pulling into the overlook subsequent to us. I questioned them relating to their sanity of descending the steep grade, upcoming hairpin turns, and lack of guardrails. They weren’t fearful about it. I believed to myself, “Ya, it’s only a rental!” as I glanced over the sting on the wrecked autos beneath. Earlier than departing, I advisable they use low gear the remainder of the way in which down and wished them effectively.

Overlook on the Moki Dugway.
The overlook the place we met the rental motorhome. Wreckage beneath. Cheri Helgeson Photograph

Muley Level

As soon as on the high of the grade, we took a slim facet street main southwest to Muley Level. After we reached the purpose I used to be stunned on the variety of RVs boondocking close by.

The Visit Utah website describes Muley Level Overlook as “[An] wonderful overlook that sits excessive above the goosenecks of the San Juan River and has one of the commanding views in all of Canyon Nation. The perch is 1,000 ft above the canyons beneath and one other 1,000 on high of that to the San Juan River. This is a wonderful place to get away from all of it, actually. There’s nothing else out right here save for rocks, bushes, and views.

Muley Point Overook on the Moki Dugway.
Writer at Muley Level overlook. Monument Valley in Background. Cheri Helgeson Photograph

The street to Muley Level Overlook is accessible to most passenger autos, however there are some factors that may require a little bit of finesse as there are uncovered rocks, most of which might be circumnavigated. However the view, which extends all the way in which to Monument Valley and Navajo Nation, shouldn’t be missed.”

Image of onboard navigation on the Moki Dugway.
Beginning again down. Extra enjoyable than a curler coaster! Cheri Helgeson Photograph

From Muley Level we descended the Moki Dugway, once more stopping often for photos. We have been additionally trying to see if there was a El Monte motorhome over the sting. We finally returned to our boondocking web site within the Valley of the Gods.

Valley of the Gods, near the Moki Dugway.
Boondocking close to 7 Sailors within the Valley of the Gods. Dave Helgeson Photograph

The Verdict

After once more driving the Moki Dugway, I can say we made the right choice. We might not typically really feel comfy to descend it with our journey trailer. Folks in motorhomes and towing trailers do it, although, however I’d not suggest it. Nonetheless, after driving it in each instructions, I can say I’d be comfy going up when the street is dry and mud-free. It’s a lot simpler to cease going up a ten% grade than counting on engine compression and brakes to decelerate or cease coming down a ten% grade containing 5 MPH hairpin curves.

The BLM reminds drivers of the next: “Warning: Please stay on the roadway or within the overlook areas. In case you cease to take photographs, please pull your automobile utterly off the street to a protected location in one of many pull-out areas alongside the Dugway, to permit others to move. In case you go away your automobile to seek out a great spot for a photograph, accomplish that with nice care.



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Alex Lorel

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